The Schloemer automobile, on exhibit in Streets of Old Milwaukee, was the first internal combustion vehicle to run on the streets of Milwaukee. This vehicle is a product of Gottfried Schloemer's and Frank Toepfer's interest in producing a self-propelled vehicle. After their first attempt, a bicycle-like vehicle that required its passengers to pull a bar back and forth to operate the crank shaft, Schloemer and Toepfer looked to other innovations. Schloemer and Toepfer borrowed the gasoline engine design from the Sintz Machinery Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In 1903, Harley-Davidson began its motorcycle business in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This item, a 1913 Harley-Davidson motorcycle, was manufactured during a time of great production and growth for the company. That year, Harley-Davidson built a new, much larger factory. The following year, production numbers soared to 16,284 motorcycles. After 1914, Harley-Davidson dominated the motorcycle industry.
A valuable piece in the museum's glass collection, the Lalique mask is an excellent example of glass artwork. It was crafted by Rene Lalique, known in the 1920s as Europe's master of decorative glass. Although he is reknowned for his work in jewelry, furniture accessories, vases and more, this piece of decorative glass is a product of Lalique's shift in specialization after the world market's collapse in 1929. Most of Lalique's work after the Depression focused on architectural items such as rails and altars for churches and lighting fixtures and wall panels for department stores.